'House passes real bill on false alarm

In a show of uncharacteristic bipatrisanship and courage, House members

this week voted unanimously against a bill that was never introduced by

a congressman who doesn't exist. Now Internet users can breathe a sigh of

relief — if they can stop laughing.

On a unanimous voice vote Tuesday, the House repudiated the fictitious

H.B. 602P, purportedly championed by a Rep. Tony Schnell, a killjoy congressman

who wanted to levy a fee for each minute Internet users were connected online.

Real House members delivered redemption — and killed rumors of such

a bill — in the form of H.R. 1291, which prohibits the Federal Communications

Commission from imposing any per-minute user fees for hooking up to the


Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), one of 142 co-sponsors of H.R. 1291, estimated

that per-minute Internet charges could have cost average consumers $400

a year. Worse, Goodlatte fretted, per-minute Internet fees would disproportionately

impact lower-income families who use the Internet to search for jobs, not

to mention students who use the Internet for help with their homework.

Goodlatte, who admitted his office was beseiged with phone calls and

letters from constituents in his rural Virginia district who thought H.B.

602P was for real, vowed to continue fighting to ensure all Americans regardless

of geographic location or financial status "have access to the wonders that

await them online."

Not to be outdone by the humbugs on the Hill, the Executive Office of

the President endorsed H.R. 1291 as soon as it passed, pausing only to note

that "the bill enacts current policy."

"As the bill continues through the legislative process," the White House

added, it should be "amended to further clarify that Internet service providers

are exempt from all time-based access charges."


  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.